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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This could be really bad, or no big deal. Friday night I was getting the Kawi ready to take on a long ride Saturday. When I changed the oil a couple of weeks ago, I thought I noticed contamination in the used oil, but I wasn't sure because the pan I drain into often has bits of oil-dry and crap like that in it. So, I cleaned the pan carefully and drained the oil. I ran my magnet tool around in the oil, but nothing came out. Then as I was finishing pouring the oil back into the crankcase, I noticed tiny particles in the bottom of the pan. Some looked metallic, some looked organic. I decided to take the Harley instead, but figured I'd ask the mechanic at Boca Cycle about it before I left Saturday.

The mechanic has a great reputation, and he said it was nothing unusual; don't worry about it. He also said I might want to get a magnetic drain plug if it really bothered me. So, I decided to ride the Kawi after all.

Since I'm not used to seeing contamination like that, here are my questions to our MO Panel of Experts:

1. Do you see particulate contamination in your engine oil when you drain it? Would you be alarmed if you did?

2. Do you think it's normal or typical for a high-milage engine like this I-4 to generate contamination like that? The bike is an 86, but the engine is from a 98.

3. Shouldn't that brand new oil filter I put in there be trapping this stuff anyway? There's a kit to change the cartridge filter to a spin on, think that would be a good idea?

4. The bike runs great. I rode over 400 miles Saturday, and it just hummed along. It's a little noisier that I'm used to in the top end, but then again, it's been 20 years since I had a Japanese I-4, maybe the valve noise is typical. If there is something wrong, I guess I could make it worse by riding it. Then again, I really don't know how much money I want to put into this bike. I could easily double or triple my investment in it if I started taking the engine apart.

What do you think?
 

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Super Duper Mod Man
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If you start to see flakes for bronze looking material, I'd worry a bit. Probably a rod bearing grinding itself to bit. Other than that, I wouldn't worry about the usual sediment in there. Just ride it till it blows up!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
If you start to see flakes for bronze looking material, I'd worry a bit. Probably a rod bearing grinding itself to bit. Other than that, I wouldn't worry about the usual sediment in there. Just ride it till it blows up!
That's probably good advice. And if it does blow up, I'll see about parting it out on Ebay!
 

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Aging Cafe` Racer
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1. I wouldn't be alarmed to find a small amount of debris in the oil, (I would sedate myself just in case though)

2. It's not bike miles but engine miles that aply here, still a small amount of particles in the oil shouldn't be an issue (self medication is still recommended, just in case)

3. Not unless you just like to spend money, the cartidge filter is just as efficient as a spin on, just more trouble. (sedate if stress levels raise)

4. "The bike runs great".....pretty well answers that question eh? If you want top end noise, try a Triumph Trophy, you'd swear it was a diesel compared to most Jappers. Paper thin valve covers and being built like a brick sh*t house explains most of it. The engine on your Kawi is as close to bullet proof you're likely to find, as long as the cam chain tensioner is operating correctly (which could be an issue on early 900/1000 Ninja motors) it should run as long as you want to ride it. (after ride self medication optional but recommended)
 

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MODERATOR X
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What? Metal in the oil on a wet sump four stroke? Doesn't sound good to me.

Remember, those tiny particles of metal have circulated aound in the motor, BEFORE being caught by the filter, hence the metal in the crankcase drippings.

The cheapest soultion, would be to go to the local hardware store, and buy a "for sale" sign for around a dollar.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
What? Metal in the oil on a wet sump four stroke? Doesn't sound good to me.

Remember, those tiny particles of metal have circulated aound in the motor, BEFORE being caught by the filter, hence the metal in the crankcase drippings.

The cheapest soultion, would be to go to the local hardware store, and buy a "for sale" sign for around a dollar.
I've been considering the "sell it before it blows up option." Then I waffle and think that since the bike is almost perfect in every way aside from this issue, maybe it would be worth a rebuild. I do enjoy riding it, and with a rebuild I guess I'd know what I had versus buying another used bike.

Heavy sedation and earplugs prior to riding...yeah, that's the plan!
 

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Ruh Roh is right...

I've been considering the "sell it before it blows up option." Then I waffle and think that since the bike is almost perfect in every way aside from this issue, maybe it would be worth a rebuild. I do enjoy riding it, and with a rebuild I guess I'd know what I had versus buying another used bike.

Being it's a Kawasaki in-line four, it'll most likely run forever, even with sand/metal shavings/dippity-doo/hamsters/etc. in the oil.

But the question is, for how long? When I think of all those bearings, shafts, gears, chains, spin darts whirring around in there, with metal shavings sidging and dripping, like the Austrian self-sharpening razor, I get kind of woozy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Being it's a Kawasaki in-line four, it'll most likely run forever, even with sand/metal shavings/dippity-doo/hamsters/etc. in the oil.

But the question is, for how long? When I think of all those bearings, shafts, gears, chains, spin darts whirring around in there, with metal shavings sidging and dripping, like the Austrian self-sharpening razor, I get kind of woozy.
Well, that's kind of my quandry. If this stuff (and it's not a LOT of stuff, maybe 10-12 little nits) is shredding the engine, then tearing into it now may save on the rebuild cost. Hell, I could start searching Ebay etc. for an engine, and rebuild that one on the side. Hey, I know: follow SmokeU around and steal his Concours when he's been drinking heavily.
 

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We had a saying when I was working at a small boat place. Folks would come in with a motor making some undefinable (and unlocatable) noise. We'd tell them to run it until something broke, then we could fix it.

I'd run the motor until it gives you a real indication of trouble. You said the motor isn't as old as the bike; maybe you're the first one in a while to rev it, and you managed to shake loose some of the new bearing babbitt or other break-in debris that's been laying about the motor.

I'm a veteran of the Navy's old Preventive Maintenance System, where we used to take down operating machinery and electronics and open them up to "inspect" them. I'm convinced we broke a lot of equipment just checking them.

So, "ride it like you stole it!"
 

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Aging Cafe` Racer
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I'm a veteran of the Navy's old Preventive Maintenance System, where we used to take down operating machinery and electronics and open them up to "inspect" them. I'm convinced we broke a lot of equipment just checking them.

So, "ride it like you stole it!"
What a total waste, I don't know how much liberty we got ****ed out of doing PM's....." well yeah Sir, we took it apart and put it back together and it sounds the same, can we go now?"
 

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The Toad
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The one's I really liked....

What a total waste, I don't know how much liberty we got ****ed out of doing PM's....." well yeah Sir, we took it apart and put it back together and it sounds the same, can we go now?"
...were ones that required crawling under the evaporators while they are in operation. I'd like to get 5 minutes in a room alone with the sadist who thought of that one.
 

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Aging Cafe` Racer
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...were ones that required crawling under the evaporators while they are in operation. I'd like to get 5 minutes in a room alone with the sadist who thought of that one.
my favorite was "inspect fuel oil service pump screw gears for wear" which required either breaking the fuel lines open in the bilge and dropping the gears out the bottom or breaking the steam lines to the pump turbine and chain falling the drive gearbox off and lifting them out the top. In one case you're filling the bilge with raw Naval Distilate from the piping between the tank header and the pump, in the other case you're working under a few thousand pounds of gearbox suspended by a chain and swaying with the ships movement, all to find out that the gears are fine with minimal wear.

Just looking at the gage's and noting the pump putting out 350psi @4000 rpm like it's set for would have told you the same thing. Instead you get to risk a bilge fire, getting crushed or a hernia so some Chief can fill out his report sheet of completed PM's. That's why they have 18 and 19 year old kids doing it instead of adults. An adult would tell them to go to hell, it works fine
 

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It's a kawi and it's running fine.. i say leave it alone until the previous statement is no longer true.. when it eventually DOES have a problem i believe it will tell you ALL about it..

that said.. if it does spit the engine sooner than expected you can just part it out on ebay, take the money from that and buy another used kawi.. it's not like you'd be down without a bike..
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
It's a kawi and it's running fine.. i say leave it alone until the previous statement is no longer true.. when it eventually DOES have a problem i believe it will tell you ALL about it..

that said.. if it does spit the engine sooner than expected you can just part it out on ebay, take the money from that and buy another used kawi.. it's not like you'd be down without a bike..
Yep! The 30 year old HD runs just fine, thank you very much!
 
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